Good Effort by All
U12's fall short in game of two halves but give it their all
Another away trip to Southport saw another close game, with some good players returning for Southport we knew it was going to be a tough game,
Forwards-Ellis, Joel H, Anthony, Alex, Kostas, Charlie, Matthew
Backs-Tom W, Dan, Sam, Ali, Ruban, Jay P, Callum, Mikey, Joel Mc, Tom K
In the first half we were brilliant, with Alex, Ellis, and Sam setting the tempo early with big tackles. Ali, moved from his usual position in the back row to the centres at first, was having a stormer and Anthony was putting in a great shift. We put the pressure on the Southport defence and Sam brilliantly intercepted their fly half's pass to race away and open the scoring. Sam then crossed for his second soon after showing great footwork and awareness to do so, attacking the blindside after fantastic play by Callum, Dan, and especially the impressive Tom W. Southport as ever were dangerous in attack, strong at the breakdown and with some exceptional talent in their side, we had to be at our best to keep them at bay as Jay, Alex, Joel H and Ruban all made some top tackles. Eventually they scored through their big centre Sam who always causes us problems when we play Southport with his powerful aggressive running. A great kick by Dan saw us keeping Southport pinned on their line, great t tackles by Matthew, Ellis, Joel H and Tom K meant they couldn't run it out so instead they kicked clear into the waiting arms of Callum at fullback, who caught the high ball brilliantly, stepped the first man, muscled past the second two and rounded the covering winger before crashing through the helpless fullback and over the line for a great try. Some great runs by Mikey, Kostas and Ali kept the pressure on Southport, Tom W was brilliant in both attack and defence, easily tackling bigger lads, and Dan led from the front. Southport were pouring forward, using their big forward pack well as their impressive 9 and 10, Olly and Dillon, drove them round the pitch, before a combination of Ali ad Kostas turned the ball over for us. Good runs by Tom K, Ellis and Ruban saw us creep up the pitch, then Sam picked out Dan with a pearler of a pass, and a smart inside ball by our flyhallf released Mikey to crash through his two markers and race 30 meters to score, beating another two defenders as he did. Mikey went close again just before half time but was bundled into touch near the line, as did Callum who was unlucky not to score after great play by Tom W, Dan, Ruban and Tom K.
The second half started on a downer with the loss of Tom W, in such a fantastic run of form, having to come off injured. However, Joel Mc, Charlie, and Matthew made some great hits, but we were indisciplined and gave away too many penalties. From one of these Southport's fantastic scrum half Olly tapped quick and stepped through to score. After losing the brilliant Ali to injury, it was down to the other forwards to do his dirty work at the breakdown, and Ellis and Alex did just that, disrupting their play time and time again, however they still managed to gain momentum through their aggressive pack, then they switched it wide with some great passes (and one that Tom Brady would have been proud of in the NF L!) and we refused to go low on big Sam as he barnstormed through to score a really good try. Joel Mc did well at the restart with a great catch and run, Alex and Anthony were excellent in the rucks and mauls and there was a great break up the middle by Joel H. Jay and Ruban had good moments out wide, Sam was a threat all over the pitch and Callum was beating defenders for fun. Mikey, Tom K and Dan had some great moments in attack but Southport were sharper than we were and cleaned up all the loose balls, from this they scored two more tries through danger men Sam and Olly to pull ahead 5-4. They would have then had another if not for a brilliant tackle tackle by Calum, and then smart defence by Jay as well. Southport were dominating but our defence held firm as Tom K made a wonderful tackle to deny them a try. Soon after we picked up a lot and started keeping the ball as Kostas, Joel H, Alex, Charlie and Matthew all put in some great work and Dan dictated play smartly. Great work down the right by Ruban and Joel Mc won us a penalty which Ellis carried up the middle half the length of the pitch, then, camped on their line, the defence bunched around Ellis from another penalty thinking the monstrous prop was going to crash it in again, only for Dan to swing a beautiful pass wide to Sam, who finished fantastically on the left edge to equalise. On last play we looked for the winner and there were great runs by Alex, Ruban and Mikey, but a loose offload gave Southport possession, then Olly went half the length of the pitch and looked certain to score if not for a wonderful cover tackle by Sam, however the supporting winger scooped up the ball and went over for a try to finish the game 6-5.
Truly a really good effort today, nothing wrong with the defeat, it was such a closely contested game and the scoreline could have went either way. We came out a little complacent in the second half, and injuries to Tom W and Ali didn't help our cause, but the effort, commitment, and desire were on display for all to see. In the build up to their fourth try we defended on our try line for probably fifteen phases straight,almost unheard go in U12's rugby, we showed great determination and spirit, which goes a long way in rugby. I also was proud of the way we handled certain situations as well, in a bad tempered game, any incidents that occurred were dealt with quickly and the boys showed respect which was good to see. We do however need to learn to accept refereeing decisions better and stop complaining, I agreed with the lads that not every call was correct, but it is grass roots rugby, it happens, we need to spend the energy we'd waste complaining reflecting on what we could do better. Also, we need to learn this simple fact; losing happens. Every team loses games. This is fine. This is natural. It improves us and helps us learn in the long run, and some of us need to learn to accept losses in a more gracious manner (although for the most part we did do that this game). We win a lot of games but losses are even more valuable to develop us as players. This was a great game and the final score should be the last things on our mind, this was a game that tested us and will improve us, and I'm sure we all enjoyed being part of it. Thanks to Southport for hosting again. You have some top talent in your side, I look forward to playing you again once we learn to tackle lower! Man of the Match is a tie between Alex, who tackled brilliantly and worked hard at the break down, and Callum, who scored a wonderful try and was superb in defence. Mikey, Ellis, Sam and Ruban were all up there to. Chins up boys, not our highest quality performance ever but still one to be proud of!!
(Also thanks to Kealan, who came down in kit to watch the boys despite not being fit enough to play)